Excerpt from Dance, Gladys, Dance
When I was nine, looking for pictures of Spain for a social studies report, I came across a photo of Pablo Picasso’s painting of Dora Maar. She was like nothing I’d ever seen. I sat on the green linoleum floor (which my mother referred to as battleship linoleum because it lasts forever – as if that was a good thing), held the magazine open in my lap, and stared at the photo. I had no idea who Picasso was, but I knew that painting, that style, those colours, in my bones. Dora’s face was wrong; it was orange, with stripes of green and white. Her nose tilted over to one side, her eyes were too big, and her ear was a piece of macaroni. Shapes of colour formed her clothes: purple, black, blue, and the background just two flat panels of orange. She was as ugly as heck, but she was powerful. She looked like I felt.